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Sheri Kunovich, Sociology, Kids, Christmas and the Materialism Conundrum

DFW Child

Originally Posted: December 2015

Sharon Alderton, 34, avoids her kids’ playroom. That’s because it’s already packed with toys for her two young boys — many that they don’t play with much — and with the holidays and one son’s Christmas Eve birthday quickly approaching, the Prosper mom knows the stuff is just going to multiply. “It’s too much of a good thing,” she confesses. Alderton is grateful for the generosity of others but wishes they wouldn’t give so much. “I don’t want my boys to be ungrateful, take it all for granted or think that getting toys is what matters most in life.”

Like many parents, Alderton struggles to find balance between wanting her children to have what friends have and keeping them from becoming materialistic.

Gifts Gone Wrong

Alderton isn’t alone. Associate Professor Sheri Kunovich is the head of the sociology department at Southern Methodist University. In her class Wealth and Consumption, she compares global patterns of consumerism and says the United States is unique in our spending habits.

In 2013, the United States had a total annual average expenditure of $371 per child on toys, the second highest amount per child after the United Kingdom, Kunovich explains. READ MORE